A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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Lady, n. Also: ladi(e, laday, ladé; laidy(e, -ie, -ey, laydy(e, -ie, ; laedy; leady, -ie; ledy, -ay, -ie, , leddy, -ie. Plur. also ladis, -ys. [ME. lady, ladi (14th c.), earlier lavedi, lafdi, laffdiȝ (Orm), also (west. and south.) levedi, lefdi, ONhb. hláfdía, OMerc. hláfdíe, OWS. hlǽfdíᵹe.]

1. The consort or spouse of a man of rank, as king, baron or knight. Esp. one who has the title ‘Lady’. (a) My lady, quene and luf Erudices; Henr. Orph. 173 (A).
[Earl Flannislie] namit it [his territory] eftir him and his lady; Colk. Sow iii. 682.
The state of innocens that Adam and his lady war creat in; Irland Mir. 61. heading.
As the lord anoernys with precius clething his hartlie louit lady; Ib. MS. 306 b.
To annere to hir as his lawchful lady and wiffe; Bell. Boece II. 449.
Thare kirkis rewin, thare ladyis clenely cled; Lynd. Dreme 209.
His ladye remanit wedo xlv yeiris; Maitland Ho. Seytoun 38.
The lady, your maisterschipis bedfellou; 1583 Wemyss Corr. 78.
Ye bread of the nurice that weil can florish, a lising to the laird and ane other to the ladie; Carmichael Prov. No. 1710.
Ane wodsett … made to him and his ladie in lyfrent; Hope Major Pract. I. 164.
Remembering my service to your good kind lady; 1645 Baillie II. 295.
(b) Tyll … Heyrlle Wylyam the Hay, tyll his spoys, contas and layde Deym Betterecht of Dogles [etc.]; 1481 Misc. Spald. C. II. 324.
Sir William Scot … & his laidie wer present; 1684 Bk. Old Edinb. C. IX. 118.
A petition presented by Dame Elizabeth Dundas Laidy to Sir John Dalrymple; Ib. 153.
She hes seen the said James Forbes and his ladie and Peitter Grant and his laidie … walking about the said hous; 1687 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII. 177.
(c) The knicht … sen his ledie revischt was, never he Did . petie to no creatoure; Clar. i. 1322.
The said nobell lord and his ledie his wyfe; 1637 S. Leith Rec. 27.

b. A lady tercer. See also Terce n., Tercear n., for further examples. To hald him skatheles insafer as the ladijs thrid extendis to; 1480 Acta Conc. I. 63/2.
Quhen ony laidy haffand terce … happinis to deces [etc.]; 1491 Acts II. 225/1.
George erle of Huntlies landis quhilkis ar all haile in thre ladyis handis be resoune of terce, lifrent and conjunctfee; 1525–6 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 241.
Janot Inglis lade of terce of landis of Orrok; 1536 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 131.
Dame Jonet Steward lady tercear of the samyn [estate]; 1569 Glasgow Prot. IV. 6.
The lyfrent of ane lady tearcer; Hope Major Pract. I. 179.

2. A woman having authority or property: a female ruler or landowner; a female occupant of a throne, barony, etc.; a mistress in relation to disciples or followers. (1) Sen vsurpyt pouste Has mad me ȝoure lady [L. dominam] be; Leg. S. xxxi. 136.
Dame Tarays that tyme wes lady And quene regend all Sythy; Wynt. iv. 433.
The forsaide lady oblisis her to inlow … as uthir lordis inlowis … on four half aboute; 1447 Reg. Great S. 106/2.
Scho ran vnto hir lady kene; K. Hart 349.
[Letters of procuratory by the said] Jonet Newton of Dawcowe, laidy; 1550 Prot. Bk. W. Corbet 13.
All thir foirfalts … That lords, lairds, ladys, and lawers dois exerce; 1572 Sat. P. xxxiii. 374.
Quhilk abbacie is in Rhemes, quhair her sister was ladie or abbates than; Dalr. II. 441/8.
(2) [Margaret Hume, widow of Thomas Yare] lady of the frank-tenement of the two part of the sadis landis; 1498–9 Acta Conc. II. 319.
Aganis Jonet Tulloch, ane of the ladyis of Bonyngtoune, and Maister David Gardin, hir spouse; Ib. 328.
[Beatrice Folkert] lady of the half landis of Folkertoun; 1500 Ib. 378.
Thay speirit quha was ladie of the feist, And thay tham kennit to Meliades; Clar. v. 1295.
(3) transf. or fig. Arthur, that throw chevalry Maid Bretane maistres & lady Off xij kin[rykis] that he wan; Barb. i. 550.
For laydy of the warld we hir cal, & als emprise of hele withall; Leg. S. xviii. 781.
That the kirk of Rome suld be callit lady and maistres of all cristyn kirkis; Hay I. 21/22.

3. A gentlewoman. Very common throughout the period as a courteous or complimentary mode of reference to a woman regarded as of some rank or of gentle birth or breeding. (1) The ladyis raid rycht by his syd; Barb. ii. 567.
Betwix a nobil ladi Mergaret contas of Mar [etc.]; 1397 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 32.
Swa in hys slepe, … A yhong lady … Aperyt tyll hym; Wynt. v. 992.
Quhethir gif bataill … may be lefully haldyn before the ladyes; Hay I. 251/6.
Ane lipper lady rais, and till hir wend; Henr. Test. Cress. 474.
That ryale cumpany, Of lordis and ladis, lufsum to lere; Gol. & Gaw. 1253.
Quhy put God sic bewtie In ladeis face; Dunb. Maitl. F. li. 50.
Richt mony lade led wes in that ring; Stewart 46883.
That euery lady of the land Suld haue hir taill so syde trailland; Lynd. Syde Taillis 25.
We wald ȝe tuke sum honest gay ladie Ȝour nobill quene … to be; Rolland Seven S. 525.
Lyik lordis wyffis in ladyis weid As dames of honour; Maitl. Q. ii. 100.
The regent knawand this guide ladyes mynd; Pitsc. II. 210/25.
His father and mother sister and wife are witch people and will … make thé a lady; 1662 Highland P. III. 20.
[Janet Hallywall] called lady [in Gattonside]; 1682 Melrose Reg. Rec. III. 33.
(b) A laydy far & auenand [sc. the Virgin]; Leg. S. xxv. 704.
That he mycht brok the laydy fre; Ib. xxix. 382.
Scho remanit … and all the Inglis lordis and laydies with hir; Pitsc. I. 240/21.
(c) For scylence I protest Off lords, laird and leddy [: reddy]; Lynd. Sat. 1505 (B).
Thocht my lyking wer a leddy [: reddy] And I no lord; Scott vi. 17.
Ib. 27.
[I am ane ȝoung lady, And to performe ȝour will am heir reddy; Rolland Seven S. 1107.]
(d) Ilkane of tha ledeis fre To vthir said in priuate [etc.]; Alex. (c 1580) ii. 4787.
(2) Thane com the ewnuke of Quen Candas … & sad, Laydy [etc.]; Leg. S. x. 217.
We … all committis to thé Saull and lyf, ladye; Howlat 738.
Hornyt lady, pail Cynthia, not brycht; Doug. iii. Prol. 1.
O lady fair, I pray God me defend [etc.]; Rolland Seven S. 1155.
Ladie! ladie! the blake oxe hes neuer trampit yit vpoun your foute; Bann. Memor. 286.
(3) Lo, fair ladyis, [etc.]; Henr. Test. Cress. 607.
Ladyis, leir thir lessonis; Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 503.
Harkis, ladeis, ȝour bewte was the caws; Doug. ii. Prol. 15.
Ib. xi. vii. 48.
Ȝe lusty ladyis, luke, The rakles lyfe ȝe leid; Scott iv. 1.
Ladayes, I requyst you, keep from the vall; 1640 Bk. Pasquils (1827) ii. 7.

b. A lady in attendance on a queen, a lady-in-waiting. For lyveray govnis to sex ladys of the Quenis chalmire; 1473 Treas. Acc. I. 29.
Thair awin maistres thay chancit for to meit With hir ladyis cumming fra the tornay; Rolland Seven S. 1847.
For vij elnis … blak to be vj cussinettis to the Quenis gracis ladeis; 1561 Treas. Acc. XI. 65.
The King of Neverowne … leidand our Scoittis quein hame … with hir tryne of ladyes; Pitsc. II. 124/22.

4. In territorial, family and other complimentary titles. As Lady, the Lady or my Lady. In (1) and (2), applied espec. to wives and female successors of greater and lesser barons; also to countesses and marchionesses, but less frequently, the latter being also often designated by their specific rank (see Countes(se n, etc.). (The) auld (= the dowager) lady, also (the) ladie elder; (the) ȝoung (= the present) lady, also ladie … ȝounger; and baith ladyis, the ladyis. (1) To my lady of Hammiltoune the Kingis sister; 1474 Treas. Acc. I. 69.
[The] evidentis … war in the handis of the lady of Kynnard; 1497–8 Acta Conc. II. 109.
To defend the lady of Nohalt; Lanc. 253.
Margrete Sinclare ald lady of Balmouto; 1519 Fife Sheriff Ct. 139.
Send the said wryttyngis … to my lade of Caldstreme; 1525 Douglas Corr. 99.
Marioun Howme, lady of Craufurd; 1539–40 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 485.
To haue resauit fra … ane honorable woman, Christiane Kyrcaldy, ȝoung lady of Culethy, ane assedacioun [etc.]; 1555 Balmerino Chart. 67.
Lyand still bydand the ladie of Furdis coming; Pitsc. I. 266/16.
The auld ladye and young ladie of Grant communicated this day awcht dayis; 1604 Elgin Rec. II. 118.
Fra Agnes McKensie, ladie elder of Dunnachtane; 1618 Grant Chart. 317.
The younge lady of Balfoure in Fyfe dyed at Kilrinny, being daughter to the Laird of Moncreife; 1649 Lamont Diary 9.
Ane Mistris Hendersone, … sometymes lady of Pittahro; Ib. 12.
The ladie dowager of Huntlie, ane nobill … princes; Spalding II. 53.
To pleas the lady of Stitchell; 1677 Stitchill Baron Ct. 80.
(b) Gylis of Murreff, laydy of Culbyne; 1438 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 265.
Jonete Hammiltoun laidy of Gaitgirth; 1488 Acta Aud. 114/1.
To ane honourbill laydy the laidy of Glenvrquhaye this; c 1570 Breadalbane Lett. (Reg. H.).
(2) Jonet covntes of Murray and lady Frendraucht my grandame; 1498 Liber Melros 621.
To Home, the lady Musgraves man; 1501 Treas. Acc. II. 120.
Janete Kennedy lady Bothuile; 1501 Reg. Privy S. I. 108/1.
Elizabeth lady Glammys, the spous of umquhile Johne lorde Glammys; 1503 Ib. 142/2.
My ladye Syncler; 1506 Orkn. & Shetl. Rec. 248.
Angnis the lady Botwell; 1517 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 100.
My gud sister my lady Hwntlye; 1548 Corr. M. Lorraine 229.
Maryon lady Home; 1548 Ib. 281.
The rentall … gewin in by my lord and lady Drummond; 1563 Inchaffray Reg. 83.
His mother my lady Lenox; Melville Mem. 120.
The Atholers … went to Huntley, the lady Glames joynture; 1653 Lamont Diary 77.
To the ladie Litel Fawside loads; 1677 Fawside Coal Compt 16.
Feb. 1666, Lady Miltoun against the laird; Mackenzie Laws & C. (1699) i. xvii. 90.
(b) Marone Ogillwye laidye Innermerkye; 1561 Digest Justiciary Proc. D. 14.
At the laydie Carmychellis hous; 1652 Lanark B. Rec. 148.
Laidie Colvine werdit; 1684 Bk. Old Edinb. C. IX. 166.
(c) My leadie Huntlie to embrase the religion with hir husband; 1597 Warrender P. 324.
(d) Soune to the leddie Dregarne; 1628 Dundonald Par. Rec. 267.
Servant to the ledy Dregarne; 1629 Ib.
To the ledie Tulliallon; 1644 Tulliallan Coal Wks. 70.
(3) The lady justice clarkis accompt; Acc. Lady Bellenden .
Umquhile Dame Margrat Lyone lady marquess of Hamiltoune; 1629 Boyd Fam. P. 9 June.
Ane stok lok for my laedy thesauraris chalmare doore; 1639 M. Works Acc. XXIX. 20.
(4) To the lady maistres; 1503–4 Treas. Acc. II. 337.
For x elne dames to lady maistres litill madin … xij li.; 1507–8 Ib. IV. 60.
To the lady maistres, hir half ȝeris fee; Ib. 67.
Gevin to the lady maistres for expensis debursit be hir for covering of my lord princis cradill; 1540 Ib. VII. 320.
Speir at my ladie priores, Gif lechery be sin; Lynd. Sat. 1831.
(5) To a man of lady Margaretis; 1488 Treas. Acc. I. cclxxxviii.
To my lady Margrete; 1494–5 Ib.
Giffin to the lady Margreit of Drummond; 1496 Ib. 277.
Ane beutifull … princis, lady Elizabethe, was proclamed Quene of Inglande; Leslie 268.
His maiesties darrest dochter lade Margret; 1600 Treas. Acc. MS. 99.
The Earl of Angus maried … lady Jeane Weyms, my lord Elchos eldest daughter; 1649 Lamont Diary 4.
(6) Lady Wagtaill his joy and all his hairt; Colk. Sow iii. 120.
My lady Cleo, that help of makaris bene; Dunb. G. Targe 77.
Yoldyn as a woful prisonnere To lady Beautee; Ib. 210.
Quhen lady Judith wes send fra the toun; Maitl. F. lxxii. 46.

b. The Lady, one who has the title ‘Lady’ as prec. Lady Margretis dochtir, … vj ellis of Rissillis broune … deliuerit to the said lady; 1495–6 Treas. Acc. I. 265.
To pas with the ladyis cariage to Ternway; 1501 Ib. II. 123.
I leif to the laird of Lag xl lib., … to the ȝoung lady x lib.; 1587 Edinb. Test. XVII. 250.
Off new treidling scheittis maid be the laidy in Finlarg; 1598 Black Bk. Taymouth 325.
The lordschip of the Engȝie had the lady dovager hir to be lifrentrix thairof; Spalding II. 91.
Robert Dickson servitor to the old laidy; 1657 Stitchill Baron Ct. 8.
I compleited the first year's boarding to the lady; 1674 Cunningham Diary 2.
The laird and lady being at Pasley; Ib. 43.
[The miller is] to work the ladie [four loads of corn yearly free of multure or bannock] except the ladyes guidwill; 1685 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. 346.

c. My lady, as a mode of address or reference to a noble lady (normally one who has the title ‘Lady’). Also once our lady. Commonly used by a servant or inferior of or to his or her mistress. (1) We [sc. the Earl of Angus] haf sett to the sele of oure lady oure modyr; 1409 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 73.
(2) This is ane of my ladyis [sc. Agnes of Dunbar] pynnys; Hyr amouris thus till my hart rynnys; Wynt. viii. 4884.
With my lady the Quene In office maist haue I bene; Rauf C. 229.
Thingis deliuerit to my lady in Hadingtone the Kingis sister; 1473 Treas. Acc. I. 72.
Bewty sayis, Ȝa schir, perchance Ȝe be my ladeis presoneir; Dunb. xlii. 16.
My ladye with the mekle lippis; Ib. liv. 5, 10, etc.
That salbe done, quod thay, my ladie; Lynd. Meldrum 1028.
Ane boy send to Lynlythqw witht holand claitht … to my lady; 1551–2 Treas. Acc. X. 55.
My wyfe & hale hushuld commendis tham hartlie … to my ladie ȝour wyfe; 1576 Breadalbane Lett. 19 May.
I war maist ingrat if I sould forget my guid, godlie and maist courteus lady, my lady Wedringhton; Melvill 221.
Ane new key to ane loke of the duir of my ladies calbenat; 1611 M. Works Acc. (ed.) 332.
Shews for my leday ¥1. 16. 0.; c 1680 Bk. Dunvegan I. 205.
I wisch my leady my recover her helth quickly; 1696 Annandale Corr. 126.

d. Our, my soverane lady, the Queen as sovereign; see also Soverane a. Common only during Mary's reign. (a) [To] pay to our soverane lady the Quene or her factouris [etc.]; 1482–3 Acta Conc. II. ciii.
To be abstractit fra making of gude service to our soverane lady; 1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 51.
In the bukis of our soverane ladyis consall; 1545 Reg. Paisley App. 7.
Oure souerane lady … ordanis [etc.]; 1550 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 151.
In will to oure souerane lady and hir justice in hir name; 1554 Crim. Trials I. i. *368.
Our souerane ladyis letters impetrat be hym; 1558 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 311.
Our souerane lades auctorite and lawis; 1559 Inverness Rec. I. 37.
For convocatioun of our souerane ladies liegis; 1561 Crim. Trials I. ii. 409.
Our soverane lady being for the tyme in her maist secreit chamber; 1566 Ib. 481.
The said Johne … invyed against our souerane ladie; 1571 Bann. Memor. 92.
(b) My souerand laydye; 1551 Prot. Bk. W. Corbet 14.
(c) Vmquhile our souerane ledyis feder … hir guidschir & grantschir; 1543 Acts II. 432/1.
(d) The tennement of land … to be haldin of our souerane leady; 1561 Edinb. B. Deeds 5 b.

5. A lady who is the object of (esp. chivalric) devotion; a knight's or lover's lady, mistress or ‘ladylove’ (lady luffe). Myne hart nonne othir bissynes Haith bot my ladice seruice; Lanc. Prol. 166.
Ilk man … To just and turnay for his ladeis saik; Stewart 25667.
I wait Sir Lancelote du Lake … Faucht neuer better … For his ladie in no battell; Lynd. Meldrum 51.
He … stude weill ay in his ladies grace; Ib. 84.
Thocht ȝe with ȝour ladyis daill, [observe] ressoun; Scott xi. 3.
Sweit maistres, lady luffe & lusty wicht; Ib. xv. 24.
My lady fair, of me scho takis no cure; Ib. xvii. 17.
I met my lady weil arrayit; Bann. MS. 143 a/2.
Luiffaris, leif of to loif so hie Ȝour ladyes; Montg. Misc. P. i. 3.

6. The Virgin Mary. More commonly Our lady. (1) A lady Mary, … wysly, laydy, pray I thé That thu wald mercy hafe of me; Leg. S. xviii. 633, 639.
Haile lady of all ladyis, lichtest of leme; Howlat 724.
Ay the lame cryd, Lady, help! Dunb. xxxii. 12.
[To] syng Aue gloriosa ane anteme of our lade in honour and laud of that glorious lade; 1537 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 412.
(2) The tribus … Off quhome come oure suet lady, Goddys modyr, myld Mary; Wynt. ii. 233.
His dere … moder and virgyne oure suete lady Marye; Hay II. 70/11.
Our deir lady Mary keip [M. Our lord Jesus me sauf] fra sic cace; Freiris Berw. 88 (B).

b. In combinations: Of (in honour of, dedicated or gifted to) the Virgin. Orig. syntactical use of the gen. (which in ME. agreed in form with the nom.), as ladie-alterage, -corse, -fasting, -kirk, etc.: also Lady-day, Lady-mes. Also with the possess. laydys, ladies. (1) The thrid of the prebendarie of the ladie alterage in Sanct Manis; 1576 Ch. in Orkney 149.
The alterage callit the Ruid, Halybluid and Lady in Lanarke; 1632 Lanark B. Rec. 326.
Me lord … wes at the Lady-corse befoir the laird; Hist. Kennedy 47.
As gif the pape walde curs a man, for he wald … fast the lady fastyng in brede and water; Hay I. 32/3.
Gevin the King to offir … in the Lady Kirke of Sanctandros; 1473 Treas. Acc. I. 64.
The prouest of the Laidy Kirk besid Sanctandres; 1490 Acta Conc. I. 165/2.
The Lady Kirk of Heuche; Pitsc. I. 380/6.
And sicklike we passed to the Lady Land called the Little Lady Rood; 1596 (1658) Rothesay B. Rec. 1017.
To serve the lady preyst of the forsaid kirk [of Our Lady in Dundee]; 1495 Reg. Episc. Brechin II. 316.
Advocatione rectorie … ecclesie parochialis de Eglischame, capelle … de Nether-Craig et lie lady-preistschip dicte ecclesie; 1606 Reg. Great S. 668/2.
To cause some of their guard stand at the Ladie steps and Tron kirk door; 1693 Soc. Ant. XIII. 76.
Ex australi parte porte vulgo vocate lie Ladye Yett; 1580 Liber Dryburgh 312.
(2) Octo decem solidi de terris subscriptis viz. de le Laydys Ȝarde … cum pertinentiis; 1487 Reg. Episc. Glasgow 453.
Superstitiouslie repairing to the cheaple at Speyside vulgarlie called the Ladies Cheaple; 1654 Moray Synod 119.

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"Lady n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 May 2019 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/lady>



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